RD307 - Study of Prohibition against Limiting Liability of Home Inspectors in Home Inspection Services Contracts pursuant to Senate Bill 627 (2018) -- September 14, 2018

  • Published: 2018
  • Author: Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation
  • Enabling Authority: Rules of the Senate of Virginia - Rule 20 (o) (2018)

Executive Summary:

The Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology referred the subject matter contained in Senate Bill 627 to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (“DPOR") for study. The legislation, as introduced during the 2018 Session of the General Assembly, proposed to limit contract provisions for licensed home inspectors conducting business in Virginia.

The expertise of DPOR and its regulatory boards does not extend to broader legal issues involving contract law. Public policy concerns about consumer protection in the context of professional regulation are generally addressed through bonding, escrow, insurance, trust or recovery funds rather than limitations on liability.

DPOR evaluated the issue in conjunction with the Board for Asbestos, Lead and Home Inspectors (“Board"), and with assistance from a committee comprised of licensed home inspectors. Based on research and comment obtained during the study, the public appears to be adequately protected with the existing regulatory framework of licensure, disclosure and minimum contract provisions, disciplinary complaint mechanisms, and private civil remedy.

The Board concluded that issue of enforceability of liability limitations is best left to the courts, having found no evidence or justification, either anecdotally or through complaints filed, demonstrating such a prohibition on home inspectors is necessary. DPOR concurs and recommends against a statutory amendment to prohibit licensed home inspectors from limiting liability as proposed in SB 627.